Regulation of Real Estate Agencies
White Paper about property code and regulations for Malta
Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera last week announced, while addressing a conference, the launch of a White Paper which will lead to a legal framework that will establish a code of practice for real estate agents.
The White Paper will assess the need to have a responsible body to manage the legal framework, promoting professions within real estate through membership on an individual or agency level, providing for education and training within the sector, as well as establishing a redress structure.
The White Paper aims to ensure high quality standards and services in this sector, particularly considering the current scenario where the market is booming and it becomes rather easy for market activity to become unregulated. It is imperatively important that real estate agency professionals, in carrying out their work, are always aware of what's going on in the market in order to satisfy their clients' needs.
Entry into real estate as a profession should be backed by education and the present would be a good time to provide this. As a result, the quality of property agents and managers in Malta would improve and professions would be regularised.
The White Paper is proposing the introduction of a license which would be required by each real estate professional in order to operate. This would be awarded following the relevant training.
Another suggestion is to set up a real estate agency that will administer the licensing regime, keep record of the licences issued, suggest training courses, develop rules of practice, set fees, set professional standards for estate agents, as well as investigate reported offences.
In addition, the Paper also recommends that estate agents and property consultants present to their clients written terms of business - including an explanation of fees and charges as well as any additional fees that may be incurred by the client under specific circumstances. The written business terms should clearly state whether fees are fixed or a percentage of the selling price and when these would be due.
The White Paper invites a public debate on these considerations, so that both an institutional legal framework with a code of conduct and a real estate educational programme are put together.